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Lecture 8

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PSYC 2700
Chris Herdman

Lecture 8 Forgetting Trace decay theory - Each rehearsal strengthens memory trace - (memory) trace decays over time - Jenkins and Dallenbach • Had people learn a list of nonsense syllables, made them go to bed, then had them repeat them when they woke up, or others did normal activities • People who rested did better over time than those who did every day activity • Shows that NOT just decay! Maybe something interfered… Interference theory - Memories don’t just “fade” away - Two types of interference: • Proactive • Retroactive Typical task: paired-associate learning - Typical task people used to look at interference - Used nonsense syllables because they don’t have a semantic value attached to them Proactive interference - If I learn something now, it may interfere with what I learn later st - Control group doesn’t learn the 1 list, so they are the control - PI group learns A-B, THEN A-C - So does the earlier A-B pairing interfere with learning theA-C Retroactive interference - Control group learns A-B, then nothing. - RI group learnsA-B, then A-C. Tested on first list. Won’t do as well as the control group General interference findings - In both proactive interference (PI) and retroactive interference (RI) paradigms, recall is worse for experimental than control groups - Why is there interference? • Response competition  Competition of responding with a B or C item • Unlearning  As you learn a new set of connections, the original may be unlearned Response competition - (Retroactive interference test) - Occurs whenA is paired with two alternatives (A-B andA-C) Melton and Irwin intrusion errors - Dependent variable = the amount of retroactive interference - As we increase the # of trials on the new list (A-C), the interference increases on first list (A-B) - If it’s just intrusion, thenA-C should continue increasing, but it goes down because they realize it isn’t right and they start guessing - After a bunch of trials, retroactive interference is due to something else, it’s not competition from the other list, because you are generating random answers - So what’s going on? Maybe by learning a new list, you are destroying the connections from the 1 list… so UNLEARNING Unlearning - Original associations (A-B) unlearned • By learning theA-C list, you are obliterating theA-B list - Barnes and Underwood (1959) • MMFR technique:  Learn A-B  Vary amount of studies onA-C  Test session: giveA, recall B and C nd st - As you do more trials for 2 list, the better you get, but they do worse on the 1 list - Conclude: • A-B memory becomes unlearned asA-C becomes stronger Problems for unlearning theory - Postman and Stark • Task:  RI paradigm  Recognition test (rather than recall)  Rather than recalling list B or C, we will give them pairs of items and ask them which lis
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